Japanese History Paper On The Peace Constitution Modern Japanese History Class Essay

1123 words - 5 pages

Two Different Stances on the ‘Peace Constitution’
Following the surrender of Japan on August 15, 1945, Japan signed the ‘Peace Constitution’ in effect from May 3, 1947, which was drawn up under the Allied occupations with the intention of replacing Japan’s previous militaristic, expansionistic and absolute monarchy system into a form of liberal democracy. It is most characteristic for the renunciation of war in its Article 9, that “Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. 2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.”[footnoteRef:1] In the two recent short articles published in the New York Times by Martin Fackler, “Prime Minister Abe Appeals to Japanese, Pacifist Constitution” and “Retired Japanese Fighter Pilot sees an Old Danger on the Horizon,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and former WWII ‘Zero-sen’ pilot Harada Kaname respectively express their views regarding the ‘Peace Constitution.’ Abe and Kaname hold two antithetical stances towards peace and the ‘Peace Constitution’ of 1947, with Abe holding the ‘normalistic’ view arguing that Japan should have the right to a “normal” defense and military role, thus overturning the limitations of Article 9 of the constitution, and Kaname holding the ‘pacifistic’ view of avoiding war or any military conflicts at all cost. [1: Selections from the Constitution of Japan (1947) and related documents]
The contexts in which Abe and Kaname grew up deeply influenced their current stances regarding Japan’s peace and ‘Peace Constitution. Abe was born into a politically prominent family; his father Shintaro Abe was the former Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party and the longest reigning post-war foreign minister. Furthermore, Abe’s maternal grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi was the Prime Minister of Japan from 1957 to 1960 and had been a member of the Hideki Cabinet during the WWII; Kishi “had long been Abe’s No. 1 role model as a politician. In fact, most of Abe’s key positions are said to be surprisingly identical to those originally espoused by Kishi”[footnoteRef:2] and this is clearly shown in Fackler’s article with Abe questioning, “isn’t it time to hold deep debate about revising the Constitution” and calling on “maintaining the postwar alliance with the United States as the bedrock of Japan’s diplomacy.”[footnoteRef:3] Abe further claimed in his book ‘Toward a Beautiful Country’ that “some people used to point to my grandfather as a ‘Class-A war criminal suspect,’ and I felt strong repulsion. Because of that experience, I have become emotionally attached to ‘conservatism,’ on the contrary.”[footnoteRef:4] Thus, with his rather ‘conservative’ family context which bred him to hold nationalist-leaning ‘normarlistic’ notions, Abe justifies his call for the revision of the Article 9 of the ‘Peace...

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